That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: MLB and players meet again for second day in row; 49ers-Rams predictions

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (left) and the Players Union Rep Tony Clark (right) both sides will meet again to discuss how to settle the lockout on Tue Jan 25, 2022 (file photo from talkingchop.com)

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 Amaury both MLB and the players union met on Monday and the players have agreed to drop the five year waiting period for free agency and wanted to discuss revenue sharing with the owners. MLB and the union although not concluding to a deal agreed to meet again today.

#2 It’s been 43 days since the owners declared a lock out on the players and having their first sit down bargaining session. It is thought to have negotiations two days in a row to be a good sign that there might be some kind of talks and a ray of light to getting things moving again.

#3 The players union dropped the proposal that would allow a player nearing 30 years of age to declare free agency after five years of service. The players said they would alter their proposal for revenue sharing.

#4 Amaury you’ve seen how close these post season NFL games have been. This Sunday’s game in Los Angeles with the San Francisco 49ers against the Rams for the NFC Championship should be a classic match between evenly matched teams.

#5 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a strain shoulder injury from their game in Dallas on Sun Jan 16th. The defense pretty much won the game for the 49ers on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and special teams kicker Robbie Gould who booted a game winning field goal to get the 49ers in the NFC Championship.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for News and Commentary podcasts each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Bruce Magowan: Gould kicks 49ers into NFC Championship; MLB Union to make counter proposal Monday

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould celebrates after booting the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock to help defeat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in the NFC Divisional round to advance to the NFC Championship (AP News photo)

Headline Sports podcast with Bruce:

#1 Bruce, quite a finish for the 49ers last night in Green Bay lets talk first about the 49ers blocking the punt when Taianoa Hufanga returned the six yard punt and it tied up the game at 10-10 with 4:41 in the fourth quarter.

#2 The 49ers with no time left on the clock looked to their place kicker Robbie Gould to hit a 45 yard field goal that won it for the 49ers to advance them to play Los Angeles in the NFC Championship this Sunday.

#3 Bruce the MLB Players Association will attempt to make a counter offer on Monday. The league already has asked the union to drop three proposals, earlier free agency for players, salary arbitration after two years instead of three and changes to the revenue-sharing plan. 

Bruce Magowan is a former reporter and anchor on News 740 KCBS and 680 KNBR San Francisco

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB–2022 Hall of Fame Ballot PED Guys will fall Short

Barry Bonds (left) and Roger Clemens (right) are holding out hope that the MLB Baseball Writers of America Association will vote them into the Hall of Fame but reports say it’s very unlikely (ESPN file photo)

MLB–2022 Hall of Fame Ballot PED Guys will fall Short

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

These “steroids era” players will probably fall short. Barry Bonds with an MLB record 762 home runs and seven MVP Awards, Roger Clemens, with a record seven-Cy Young Awards, are the two first and then possibly Alex Rodríguez, who some time ago admitted to using PED’s and said it might cost him the Hall of Fame.

David Ortíz is an interesting case, he also admitted to using PED’s years ago. Other interesting characters are Samuel “Sammy” Sosa, who said he “never tested positive for steroids” during his career and in 2005 he appeared in front of the US Congress House Committee on Government Reform together with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro as well as some baseball executives.

But if you want to talk about it interesting, how about Curt Schilling, who a year ago asked to be removed from the 2022 HOF list, but was rejected and will remain on the BBWAA ballot for the tenth and final time.

About a year ago Schilling called the Baseball Writers Association of America a bunch of “spineless cowards”. Schilling was never connected to steroids use or any PED’s during his career, but his controversial twitters became a litmus test for most of those that opposed his point of view.

If you are eligible you are eligible, it should only be about your baseball career. It is the Hall of Fame not the Hall of Saints and baseball should not bring statues down, but build it for their heroes.

I do give a lot of credit to the BBWAA for rejecting Curt Schilling’s wishes to be removed from the ballot. If we go down that rabbit hole, we must also, never elect or maybe remove some that are already in Cooperstown.

I am sure if research is done there will be found to be some very unsavory characters in the Hall. Such Hall of Fame luminaries like Roger Hornsby, a .358 lifetime hitter who batted over .400 three times, there were persistent rumors he was a member of the KKK.

The great Ty Cobb, who by all accounts was a terrible human being who won a history-leading 12-batting titles, was an admitted racist. He is in Cooperstown. Cap Anson was widely reported by the media he was totally opposed to black players in baseball.

Back to the present. Some of the greatest sluggers in recent history who are tied to the use of PED’s, steroids and their home run totals: Barry Bonds 762, Alex Rodríguez 696, Sammy Sosa 609, Mark McGwire 583, Rafael Palmeiro 569, Manny Ramírez 555.

Among the luminaries of the mound; Roger Clemens, a tremendous 24-year career ended with 354 wins, 3.12 earned run average, and 4,672 strikeouts, a 6-time 20+ game-winner. Clemens won a MLB record of seven Cy Young Awards.

I have a feeling a lot of ballots will be blank this year. However, if a BBWAA writer does not send a ballot that means he/she is abdicating his/her responsibility. Each of the writers who vote can choose from 0 to 10 candidates. Last year no player reached the 75% minimum

Inductees from the era committee, elected last year: Six, Buck O’Neil, Bud Fowler, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso, and Gil Hodges are in already. Remote possibility they will add any others on this list

There is a guy that played more games than anybody else, 3,562 and also lead everybody in history in hits with 4,256, was selected to 17 All Star Games, yet he is the first to be banned from baseball (1989), for life since 1943 as an investigation determined he bet on games with the Cincinnati Reds while he was the manager.

Peter Edward Rose “Mr.Hustle”, is still waiting for a Commissioner who will Pardon him. Note: His violation was while he was managing, not as a player. But gambling has always been the “capital sin” in the game.

Each voting cycle, qualified members of the BBWAA name no more than ten eligible players whom they consider worthy of Hall of Fame honors. To be enshrined, a player must be named on at least 75% of the voters’ ballots. Currently, players are removed from the ballot if they are named on fewer than 5% of ballots or have been on the ballot ten times without election.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: How tough will it be for 49ers in Green Bay Saturday?; Raiders get to post season then fire GM; plus more

After making the post season for the first time since 2016 and after working as Las Vegas Raiders general manager for three years Mike Mayock (right) was fired by owner Mark Davis (left) on Mon Jan 17, 2022 (file photo USA Today)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Amaury, how tough will it be for the San Francisco 49ers (11-7) to beat the Green Bay Packers (13-4) this Saturday night in the NFC Divisional Round at the Frozen Tundra Lambeau Field in Green Bay?

#2 The Las Vegas Raiders after being defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals in a close loss by a touchdown last Saturday let go of their general manager Mike Mayock does the Mayock firing make any sense even after the Raiders got to the post season?

#3 Amaury, how concerned should 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan be after the 49ers suffered injuries last Sunday in Dallas with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo shoulder sprain, pass rusher Nick Bosa in concussion protocol, and linebacker Fred Warner suffered a high ankle sprain but tweeted he was confident he would be in the line up on Saturday night. Three big names not to be 100% healthy against Green Bay.

#4 After winning three World Series titles former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cub Jon Lester is retiring from baseball after 16 years in the big leagues. Lester looked like he was at the end of his career in 2021 pitching for the St Louis Cardinals going 4-1 with a 4.36 ERA.

#5 Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez who passed away at age 28, Rays manager Kevin Cash said that Ramirez brought energy and passion each day to the clubhouse. The Rays did not release information of what was the cause of death.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcasts heard on each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Las Vegas the New Gold Rush for Sports

A view of the front doors of the Tropicana Casino Hotel Resort in Las Vegas which could wind up being the home to either the Oakland A’s or a new MLS franchise (photo by troplv.com)

Las Vegas the New Gold Rush for Sports

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Major League Soccer Commissioner, Don Garber is looking to Las Vegas for expansion: “Las Vegas is a frontrunner for MLS 30th team” said Mr. Garber, who added, “We are looking to build a stadium right off the strip”.

Sin City has gained national attention in recent years with the birth of the NHL Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Oakland Raiders, now Las Vegas Raiders, both playing in the most famous desert in the country.

Now they are also in the mix for MLS 30th team according to Garber who added “our 30th team is really going to round out expansion in Major League Soccer, so stay tuned, because in the first quarter of 2022 we should be announcing a 30th team”.

It makes sense for the MLS build a new stadium for their expansion team in Las Vegas, since that is an outdoor sport with the regular seasons beginning in late February and ending early October, they play lots of games in the summer and in Las Vegas you need an indoor-air conditioned stadium.

Obviously, Oakland A’s aficionados are still in a unique situation where the team is moving forward with two parallel plans one for the Howard Terminal new ballpark at Jack London Square in Oakland, and one someplace in Las Vegas.

That is sort of good news for each plan. In Oakland the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) a 3,500 page document which the city of Oakland planning commission could vote next month and approve. This is just one step in a very long process as the A’s and the city of Oakland are still in on-going negotiations about how to pay for the project and the infrastructure around it.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, the A’s are also involved in looking for land to build a new stadium. After earlier in 2021 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gave the team permission to look for alternate sites in other cities, in case they cannot build the Howard Terminal new park.

The Tropicana Hotel site on Las Vegas famous strip a primary target, also Dave Kaval President of the A’s and John Fisher owner have made repeated visits to the desert and are evaluating other options like a plot owned by Wyndham Hotel and Resorts Las Vegas and another by betting on casino company Caesars Entertainment.

It has been reported also (although not confirmed) that the Hughes Corporation (originally owned by Howard Hughes) has offered “free” land to the Oakland team if they wish to build their new park in Summerlin, an affluent suburb, minutes from the strip. Las Vegas media also has reported the A’s have looked at Henderson, Nevada, just a few minutes from the Strip for their new park

A’s fans by now have heard just about everything they need to know, stuff they like, and stuff they do not, like the team announcing last year a substantial increase in their season tickets, which was not very well received.

The one positive is the Howard Terminal plans are moving along, although (we must keep in mind) still a non-binding agreement. Many scenarios are floating around here in the Bay Area among fans and media.

One is that the A’s will play in 2022 at the Oakland Coliseum but sometime during the season they will announce their plans for the Howard Terminal although it’s still in development however, they do not believe that is going to materialize and announce that they will be moving out of Oakland. By 2023 they will be playing at their AAA facility Las Vegas Aviators Park, while they build their new permanent home in Sin City.

Your guess is as good as anybody. But two things that you can bet on, in the near future Las Vegas will have an MLS team and the other one: sometime this year we will finally know where the A’s are going to play. The Commissioner has made it abundantly clear that his patience with Oakland is about to expire. The ‘fish or cut bait’ scenario is coming soon.

During the 2021 season the Oakland A’s played 80 games at the Oakland Coliseum and averaged 8,767 fans per game, that ranked #29 among the 30 teams in baseball, the Miami Marlins finished last averaging 7,933.

We have to consider that most teams attendance have gone down during the past two seasons because all the Covid-19 restrictions. And this upcoming 2022, which has been in a lockout by owners since last December 2, could figure to be a wild card.

Is another variant on the way after Omicron? How will States handle all this, we are a big and complex country we have 50 States and they all have different laws and regulations.

Like we say on radio as well as television “stay tune for more news to come”

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary weekly at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Kotsay named new A’s manager; Formerly coached at third base and bench coach

Oakland A’s manager Mark Kotsay in file photo was hired as the new manager of the club on Mon Dec 20, 2021 replacing former A’s manager Bob Melvin (AP News file photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s have decided on Mark Kotsay 46 to manage the A’s. Kotsay was the A’s third base coach and was the A’s bench coach. Kotsay replaces former A’s manager Bob Melvin who is now managing the San Diego Padres.

Kotsay who played on seven different big league clubs including the A’s was an outfielder hitting a career 127 home runs, 720 RBIs, and hit for .276. The A’s have been a money ball team getting close or getting to the post season but not close enough to get to the World Series in various seasons under Melvin on a small payroll budget.

Last season under Melvin the A’s were just short of making the post season. Melvin managed the 2021 A’s to a record of ten games over .500 at 86-76 behind the first place Houston Astros. There was talk about the A’s hiring former third base coach and former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington who is now third base coach of the World Champion Atlanta Braves. Washington wasn’t considered and Kotsay was mentioned as the heavy favorite for the job soon after Melvin left the club.

The A’s were mentioned as preparing to not sign a large number of their key players from last season which would change the face and success of the club. The A’s moved outfielder Mark Canha and Starling Marte to the New York Mets and some thought that would be the beginning of the unloading of the team but since the departure of Canha and Marte no significant moves have not been made.

Jerry Feitelberg is an Oakland A’s beat writer for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s just might get that chance to get rooted in Oakland yet; 3500 page impact report indication city wants to move forward

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark in Oakland (image by the Oakland A’s)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The City of Oakland City Council will take a vote in February to decide on approving a 3500 page environmental impact study after the Oakland Planning Commission takes a January 19th vote on recommending the $12 billion project. A lot hinges on the future of the Oakland A’s on whether they stay in Oakland or not based on the how the Commission and the City Council move forward with what they see in the impact report.

The release of the project report is considered a major step forward for the A’s towards a new 35,000 seat ballpark at Howard Terminal and Jack London Square but also development of 3,000 units of housing, offices to the size of 1.7 million feet of space, retail space up to 270,000 feet, a 3500 capacity entertainment venue, hotel rooms with a capacity of 400 rooms, and 8900 parking spaces.

The hope is to improve Howard Terminal and turn it into a destination, a hot venue spot in downtown Oakland with the crown jewel being the ballpark. The key environmental issues that are of concern to move the project forward, affordable housing, toxic waste removal at the port shipyard, public transit and how to access around the railroad tracks that are in place at the terminal, where parking will be built and how access roads to get to parking and the terminal and how will that get done, and how traffic will impact Chinatown which is just down Broadway Street in downtown.

Oakland A’s team president David Kaval who has made numerous trips since the close of the regular baseball season to Las Vegas and has considered various sites near the Las Vegas strip for a new A’s ballpark if it doesn’t work out in Oakland. Which includes the Tropicana on the strip, Summerlin near the A’s minor league ballpark, or Henderson home of the Las Vegas minor league hockey team the Silver Knights. Kaval has not made a commitment to Vegas.

Kaval did express excitement about the planning commission and the City Council in hopes to move forward with the impact report including the January 19th vote. Kaval called the 3500 page plan an “enormous accomplishment” and feels things are headed in the right direction as the A’s have made it clear that their first choice is to stay in Oakland.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Kaval have made it clear that the City of Oakland needs to get on board with the A’s if they want to keep the A’s in Oakland and this latest step with the impact report just might be that new beginning.

Jerry Feitelberg is a beat writer for the Oakland A’s at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast: How bad will the lockout be and how long could it go?

Will Camden Yards in Baltimore be an empty park once again this time to no games at all or will the MLB lockout get settled before the March 31st opening day date on schedule? (file photo Los Angeles Times)

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary:

#1 Amaury, this past week Major League Baseball has asked all MLB employees to refrain from interviews, do not comment on anything particularly the lockout and all logos, symbols, photos of players are not to be displayed on the league website or team websites.

#2 During the last work stoppage in 1994 images were not scrubbed like they are for this work stoppage and it would appear that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred means business when he told staff at the league office and MLB teams to scrub player photos and images. It has the feel of censorship for the employees and most involved.

#3 Amaury, this being the first volley it has the players mocking the move by Manfred and MLB Players Association Executive Tony Clark none too happy in this first week of the lockout.

#4 Amaury this is the ninth work stoppage in the sports history but there are many baseball fans, advertisers, and cooperate sponsors of the game who remember the 94 work stoppage like it was yesterday and just might stay away from doing business with MLB if the season ends up getting scrubbed like it did last time.

#5 A number of MLB players signed with new clubs as free agents before the lockout hoping that the lockout will be settled before the regular season starts and get started on working on their new multi million dollar contracts.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Tony Oliva and Minnie Minoso in Hall of Fame

Former Chicago White Sox Minnie Minoso will be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame with the class of 2022 (photo from @whitesox)

Tony Oliva and Minnie Miñoso in the Hall of Fame

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This past Sunday, December 5, the Hall of Fame Early Baseball Era Committee (Pre 1950) and Golden Day Era Committee (1950-1969) got together to vote on 10 players’ Hall of Fame list. One of those ten was Tony Oliva, who fell short by one vote last time in 2014 to put his name in Cooperstown, New York. The other one was Orestes “Minnie” Minoso. Others inducted were Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neil, Jim Kaat, and Bud Fowler.

The committee that cast the votes consisted of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives, and veteran media members. One of those that were selected was my good friend colleague and legendary Spanish Voice for the LA Dodgers, Hall of Famer Mr. Jaime Jarrin. The ceremony will take place next July in Cooperstown, New York. Great job by this committee, as all these players, deserve to be in Cooperstown.

–Pedro Oliva López Fernández, better known as Tony Oliva was a right fielder who hit left and threw right. Played from 1964 to 1976, born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, he ended his stellar 12-year career with .304 average, 220 Homers, 747 runs batted in, and 86 stolen bases.

In 1964 won the American League Rookie of the Year and was one of the most dominant players during his first season, Oliva led the league in average with .323 average doubles with 43 and runs scored 109, and was ‘número uno’ in the majors in hits with 217 as well as total bases (374) producing 32 home runs and 94 RBI. Became the first player in baseball history to win two consecutive league batting titles at the start of his career.

Oliva almost didn’t make it. In 1961 the Minnesota Twins took a look at Tony during Spring Training but was released before Opening Day. He then considered returning to Cuba, but on April 17 that year, the US launched the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which failed (after the Brigada 2506 of Cuban patriots was double-crossed by the CIA) and soon after the US and Cuba broke diplomatic relations and he could not go back to Cuba because of travel restrictions.

As fate has it, it was a blessing in disguise. He stayed in the US and traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to train with the Twins Class A affiliate and later after a recommendation from some coaches; he was introduced to the General Manager Phil Howser, who helped him to get another chance at the Big Show.

—History as a Rookie: Tony Oliva ended with 217 hits in 1964. In the history of MLB only Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 (242) Lloyd Wanner 1947 (223) and Jimmy Williams in 1899 (220) have had more hits than Oliva. In 1964 finished fourth in the vote for MVP of the American League, only Orioles Brooks Robinson and Yankees Mickey Mantle finished ahead of Oliva.

—Other notable numbers: Tony Oliva led the American League on hits 5 seasons and won 3 batting titles. Between 1964 and 1971 only Pete Rose, Lou Brock, Billy Williams, and Roberto Clemente had more hits.

—1965 won one of his three batting titles as he hit for a healthy .321 the only player to win batting titles in his first two seasons and finished second to teammate and fellow-Cuban great shortstop Zoilo “Zorro” Versalles in the MVP voting.

—1966 Gold Glove: The Cuban right fielder had a cannon of an arm throughout his career and this year won the top award for fielding.

–Eight surgeries: Suffered ligament damage early in his career than for his last five years underwent eight knee operations. It was not until the mid-1970s that Arthroscopic surgery came about, by then Tony was not the same player and that robbed him of a few more years of his career. Although his knees were not that good he was such a good hitter that he was also a Designated Hitter for the Twins in 1973 when the new DH rule began.

Tony Oliva’s number 6 was retired by the Minnesota Twins in 1971 and was inducted to the Twins Hall of Fame in 2000 with Rod Carew, Kirby Pucket and owner Calvin Griffith. Now, Tony Oliva joins his very good buddies in Minnesota, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett in Cooperstown. In 1987 when the All Star Game took place at the Oakland Coliseum, I invited Tony to my baseball radio show; he took so many calls from fans that I had to ask for special 15 additional minutes from the next show that was going to air. It was granted and the lines were still lit-up when he had to leave.

Now going to Cooperstown. Oliva is also enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown New York, Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame, Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

A jovial man with a great attitude who is 83 years young has made it to the top, but in 1961 he though his career might not even get started in baseball. Tony Oliva never played in the Cuban Winter League which was nationalized that same 1961 by Cuba’s communist dictatorship.

That league was regarded as the best Winter League in the world, with talent from Cuba and Major League Baseball, with such players as Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso, Brooks Robinson, Cookie Rojas, Camilo Pascual, Bob Shaw, Jackie Brandt, Bill Werle, Pedro Ramos, Jim Bunning, Bob Allison, Chico Fernández, Zoilo Versalles, Mike Fornieles, Mike Cuellar and many others.

The late Bill Werle, born in the Bay Area used to tell me when he was a scout for the Orioles “Cubsa had the best Winter League, and most of us wanted to go there, because the caliber of baseball was great and the pay was also very good”. Werle pitcher in the major leagues and in 1956 won the Cuban Winter League title with the Tigres de Marianao.



Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso. Played for 20 years in the major leagues and in 1949 as a rookie with the Cleveland Indians became the first Hispanic player of black skin in las Grandes Ligas. Prior to his debut with Cleveland, he played from 1946 to 1949 with the New York Cubans, who played since the 1930’s in the Negro Leagues.

First time I remember seeing Miñoso was in the mid-1950’s, when my father took me to one of the Winter League Games in Havana, Minnie was playing left-field for the Tigres del Marianao team and he was as popular as anybody in Cuba. Decades later I saw him play in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox, team which he played the most during that 20-year career.

There is only one guy in history than when you say “Minnie” everybody in baseball knows who you are talking about. He played for five decades from 1949 until 1980. There is only one Minnie indeed. I first met him when he was playing with the White Sox and interviewed him in various occasions.

He was as enthusiastic as anybody that was glad to be wearing a major league uniform. In 1980, during his last season and his last trip as a player to Oakland, he told me he did not like the solid black uniforms as he was wearing with shorts, he told me, “I do not like these uniforms because my knees are ugly”.

During a broadcast I was doing with the LA Angels Spanish radio in Chicago in the 2005 season, he sat with me most of the game doing commentary, and he truly enjoyed it, as he told me on the air: “I feel I am in Cuba sitting with you doing this game here”.

There was a time after the 1964 season that Minnie left the major leagues to play and manage in Mexico until 1973, then he made another couple of comebacks until he totally retired in 1980. Although towards the end of his career he was mostly used as a promotional tool for the White Sox, nevertheless inspiring many players like José Abreu, also born in Cuba who told me Minnie was his inspiration since he was a little boy in Cuba.

Minnie died March 1, 2015 in Chicago of a tear in the pulmonary artery, he was 90 years old. The White Sox had retired his famous #9 in 1983 and erected a statue outside U.S. Cellular Field in 2004. Chicago mourned the Cuban-born player like he was ‘one of their own’ One of the tallest buildings in downtown Chicago had a huge number nine illuminated over half of the building as well as numerous memorials depicting his life and exploits in the game he so much loved. He told me he was “ready to play” when he came to Oakland in 1980, when he was 55 years young, he did not play in Oakland but he did played in two games that season and did not get a hit in two turns at-bat. His career was done.

Minnie ended his 20 year MLB career with a solid .299 batting average.195 home runs, 1.093 RBI. 216 stolen bases led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times apiece and ended with a total of 2,110 hits. Currently listed #10 in history in ‘hit by pitches’ 195 times got hit at the plated, and for years he led the American League in ‘hit by pitches’.

Now going to Cooperstown, Orestes Saturnino “Minnie” Miñoso is also enshrined in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame (In Exile) in Miami, 1983, the Mexican Professional Hall of Fame in 1996 and The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2000.

Tony Oliva and Minnie Miñoso are the third and fourth Cuban-born players now in Cooperstown. The others are, Martin Dihigo and Tony Pérez.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts Tuesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Major League Baseball officially in lockout; First work stoppage since 1994

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (left) and Major League Players Association Executive Tony Clark (right) confer during the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Field in Houston. The two sides met on Wed Dec 1, 2021 for just seven minutes and adjourned as the lock out became official. (file photo from Newsday)

Major League Baseball Officially in Lockout

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

At 12:00 AM (midnight) Thursday, December 2, 2021, owners lockout players after both sides failed to come to a contract of a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). For the first time since 1994-1995 there is a Lockout in the game.

The best news is that this is happening early, with two-and-a half months before all 30 teams report to their respective training camps in Arizona and Florida. The 2022 season is scheduled to begin on March 31.

Without a new CBA, which is the negotiated accord that governs 99.9 % of the working relationships between MLB and MLBPA (players association), there is no baseball, there are no games, and transactions between teams are now frozen. During a lockout, free agency and trades of major league players are not allowed.

To make this clear: A strike is when the labor side (players and their union) puts a halt to operations, while a lockout is when management (owners) initiates the stoppage. In other words; a strike is when the players refuse to work while a lockout is when the owners refuse to permit the players to play. In this case, it is a lockout.

During the past three weeks, teams have spent close to $2 billion dollars in player signings. Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Robbie Gray, Byron Buxton, Kevin Gausman, and Javy Baez are among some of the players that have gotten new contracts with new teams between $100 million to $325.

By looking at these signings we would think the business of baseball is doing great. Owners do not pay these contracts, because they are “nice guys”, as blunt as it sounds, owners do not go into the baseball business to be nice, but to make money.

Because many of them want to win and want to hire the best talent available they make these investments. The MLB revenues have increased from less than $5 billion in 2005 to more than $10 billion, during the last pre-pandemic season.

I cannot believe this lockout could go into the 2022 season, but if that happens nobody should be shocked. There is too much at stake here for the game. Aside from this two protagonists (owners and players), there are many others that work in the game of baseball around the 30 major league cities in the country.

They all want stability in their lives, anxiety is considered a disorder and it is not pretty. Teams also like to plan for sponsors, ticket sales, promotions, many peoples livelihood depends on the business of baseball and the majority are not players or owners.

There are many things that both sides are and will have to negotiate for the next CBA contract (usually a contract of this sort last for 5 years). Below are just a few of those:

-Pitch clock (yes, to ‘speed-up’ the game) -Creation of a “salary floor” -Salary arbitration for players after two years, not the three currently. A quicker path to free agency. -Universal Designated Hitter -Revenue sharing (in 2021 a modified, Loan-based revenue sharing was adopted) And many other issues that will not take a week or two to come to an agreement, or maybe it will? We can only go from the previous record of these type of negotiations and it is not a pretty sight.

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” -Jackie Robinson.